I was at the shops the other day listening to an old love chat at the register. She was discussing (with herself) the high price of blueberries. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with her. My kids can polish off two packets of those suckers in about 35 seconds. It wasn’t what she was taking about.
It was the fact she was talking to herself. In the middle of Coles. At 11am on a Wednesday.
And I thought – I don’t want to get old and talk to myself like that. I don’t want to push one of those wheeled bags around shopping. I don’t want to go shopping on my own and play bingo on Tuesday’s and bake tarts on Thursday’s.
Then it smacked me in the face like a tonne of bricks that in just over 60 days I turn 40.
I’ve been silently freaking out all year about it. I had my first kid at 20, and there was one mother in my mothers group that was 40 or over. Now it’s the norm, but it wasn’t back then. She looked like a nana to me at the time. And ever since I’ve had in my head that 40 is old and nothing would change my mind. At 40 I was going to be a washed up has been. At 40 I was going to be playing bingo and going to old people’s meet ups and being old.
So all year I’ve prepared for it. This getting old biz. I’ve researched muumuus online, I’ve looked up slippers to purchase. I’ve browsed purple rinses and hair rollers and getting my hair permed. I’ve thought about wills and aged care and respite help. I’ve looked up where bingo is played in my area and how often and what the prizes are (they’re crappy)
And it was all boring and awful. Which made me freak out even more.
Then today I went to Mrs Woogs First Literary Lunch. There was around 12 women there, and at the risk of offending anyone, I guessed there were a few of those women who had celebrated turning 40 before today. Not much before mind you. Just a little bit.
And I looked for slippers, and purple rinses and walking sticks. And I couldn’t see any. I looked for bingo cards in handbags and old people’s club badges. And I still couldn’t see any. What I did see was these women killing it. Happy, confident, stylish and smart. Beautiful, intelligent, funny and full of swag.
And I realised the saying “life starts at 40” wasn’t just be something someone made up, it was true.
Come at me 40, I’m ready.